I Used To Stress About The Holidays, Until–

Okay, I’m not gonna lie–I still stress about the holidays. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…ย But not NEARLY as much as I used to!

I know I said I’d be posting about a pretty emotional issue this time, but I’ve been having technical difficulties with that one…that will be next, I promise!

In the meantime, I came across this picture on Facebook this morning, so I felt like I needed to post about it.

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I had to ask myself, “Why, though?” Why does it have to be like that? I know the pressure is on around the holidays to give our families the “Perfect Christmas…” but why does this “Perfect Christmas” have to be so centered on gifts?

Yes, I understand we want our kids and our families to be happy and have the best, and it feels good to see a loved one’s face light up when you get them that perfect gift. Hearing the words, “How did you know!?” has the same effect as any good drug, in my opinion.

I used to agonize over what to get people for Christmas. I used to spend HOURS at the Mall going over random items debating in my head whether or not to buy them.

I’d ask myself, “Will so-and-so actually like this?” “Is this enough? What else should I get to go with it?” “Am I spending enough on this person?”

But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked… ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘Š

Haha sorry, I couldn’t resist. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚

๐ŸŽ„How Being A Mom Has Stopped My Christmas Stress๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ

So my husband has always been very cost-efficient *coughcoughcheapcoughcough* and his money-saving skills have kept us living pretty comfortably over the 4+ years we’ve been married.

Me? Not so much. I was lucky to have about $200 in my savings when we merged our bank accounts. Let’s just say it was a blessing that I never had a credit card in my early twenties… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ณ

So much like Dr. Hammond in the original Jurassic Park, when it came to Christmas I used to “Spare no expense.” But, seeing as how I’m young with expendable income anymore, I’ve had to learn to adapt.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all that having kids is expensive. It’s so true that they’re like those free apps with all the in-app purchases. They come with HELLA DLC, and you kind of need it to properly play the parenting game…

That being said, that leaves a lot less money to get people the type of gifts I used to be able to. Which admittedly at first was a little depressing, but it’s actually been more of a blessing than a curse.

Now that I don’t have tons of money burning a hole in my NES controller wallet, I have to think twice as hard about what to get people, and it has to fit within a tight budget.ย 

Because of this, I’ve learned to be much more thoughtful in what I give. Yes, the gifts are smaller, but they’re much more meaningful and practical, so my loved ones appreciate them more.

I’ve also begun making more things than buying, and even though my DIY skills could get me a spot on the Netflix series “Nailed It,” people are still genuinely happy when they get them, because they’re tailored to their interests and it really shows that I thought of them.

BTW stay tuned for what I think could be a pretty useful holiday hack for next year ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

How You Can Let Go Of Some Of That Holiday Tension

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My response to the above image. Less Is More!

I feel like these days we’ve begun glorifying stress around the holidays. We stress about what to wear, what to cook, what photos to take, who to send cards to, what to buy, etc. We’re constantly bombarded with commercials commanding us to “Act Now!” so that we hurry and buy whatever it is they’re selling.

And let’s not forget the constant reminder of how many shopping days there are left until Christmas.

And as I mentioned before, I completely understand wanting to get the perfect gifts for loved ones. That’s why I haven’t completely stopped buying them. But, if it’s not reasonably within our budget, we shouldn’t feel compelled to go into debt just to satisfy a societal pressure to check off that list.

The whole point of that post, at least in my interpretation, was to say that parents with kids whose birthdays are close to Christmas have a rough go of it because they’re expected to buy extra for them. If that’s really your thing, then again, no judgement! But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m trying to get in the habit of minimalism for my kids, as I’ve mentioned before. There’s so many benefits to it, and getting them in the habit early will help in the long run!

So if you’re a parent and have kids with Christmastime birthdays, and you’re stressing about how to make it all work, this could help! Do some modest gift-giving for Christmas and give a fulfilling experience (check your local library for ways to do this within a budget) as a birthday gift, allowing them to pick out a single souvenir.

Alternatively, if you’re having a birthday party for your child, odds are they’re going to get a slew of gifts from guests. You could try getting one meaningful gift for their birthday to show how special they are, and then give the smaller, but still special gifts for Christmas.

Sorry if this post didn’t make much sense this time! I’m working under a deadline at my library’s computer. Hopefully this helped bring a little insight and made you feel better if you’re struggling with stress right now.

Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanks for reading, my gals! Next time will be the emotional post.

20 Questions-Christmas Edition

Henlo!

So, I was challenged by my SIL at Becoming Rivera to answer these 20 Christmasy Questions. ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคถ๐Ÿผ๐ŸฆŒโ„๏ธ๐Ÿ•Š

They say when you have children, your Christmas spirit is rekindled, and the holiday has a brand new magic to it. โœจ I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely true for me. I’ve been so excited for Christmas this year, even though we have less money this year to buy gifts. I love buying things for other people, but having one income, a hungry, hungry caterpillar for a baby, and in the middle of buying a new house, there aren’t exactly a lot of extra funds to go around. ๐Ÿ’ธIt just so happened that this year we were able to purchase gifts with gift cards, and we had to stretch it out like Elastigirl and Mr. Fantastic. ๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ

I thought having a limited budget would be stressful, but it’s actually been fun! It’s made me think harder about what I get my loved ones, ๐Ÿค” putting that much more meaning behind the gift, and I’ve also been making a lot more DIY gifts for yankee swaps and gift baskets. ๐Ÿค— I’ve been saving every glass jar we’ve gotten this last year, in the interest of keeping them out of the landfills, โ™ป๏ธย ๐ŸŒŽย and I’ve been able to make some adorable hot cocoa and cookie kits with them. ๐Ÿช โ˜•๏ธ

Of course I can’t forget I have this little nuggit this year ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’žย Best Christmas gift this world could offer โค๏ธ

All Dressed Up and ready for Target ๐ŸŽฏย ๐Ÿ˜‚

Okay, TL;DR, having a baby brings joy back into the holidays. I’m ready to observe my Savior’s birth surrounded by loved ones with my baby squished against me โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Now for a lil festive game of 20 Questions!

1. Use one noise to describe how excited you are for Christmas:

โ€œYeeeeeeeh~” LoL A tired excitement ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜ด

2. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

I did with my father’s second wife’s family as a child, and we did at my father’s last year, since he, my brothers and I are all over the place with significant others’ families to keep up with ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’ž

3. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

A lot of old and a little bit of new. I’m excited to go to my Abuelos-in-Law on Christmas Eve and be a part of a large, loving family ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ง๐Ÿ’ž and eat amazing, authentic Dominican food, ๐Ÿฅ˜๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿคคand then I can’t wait to roast bad Christmas movies with my Dad and brothers right after, ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŽž then see my Dad, In-Laws, and Mom for Christmas. โค๏ธ๐ŸŽ„

I’m also excited to be implementing the minimalist Christmas gift rule of 4 (๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผsomething you like, โœ”๏ธsomething you need,ย ๐Ÿงฆsomething you wear, ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ๐Ÿ“–something youย read) for my son and future children. It’s super important to me to bring them up non-materialistic and against the pop cultural over saturation grain (as best as we can–and it’s okay to enjoy some of what popular culture has to offer, I just feel we let it run our lives sometimes, if that makes sense), so this minimalist guide will be the perfect way to help with that. #tryhardminimalist

Speaking of gifts, I can’t wait to give my siblings-in-law my lil Sobrina’s Christmas gift ๐Ÿ˜˜ ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ’–

4. Is your Christmas tree real or fake? Fake and 4′ ๐Ÿ˜‚

5. What is your favorite Christmas film?

The Star Wars Holiday Special ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

But seriously, It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone ๐Ÿ’–

6. Where do you usually spend your holiday?Christmas Eve my husband and I and now our son first visit my husband’s Abuelos, and then we go to my Dad’s house, then Christmas day we go back to my Dad’s, then to my husband’s parents’, and then reconvene with my brothers and my Mom. ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž

7. What is your favorite Christmas song?All I Want For Christmas Is You ๐Ÿ’‹ย ๐Ÿ˜˜ย O Holy Night ๐ŸŒŸย ๐Ÿ’ซย and Hark the Harold Angels Sing ๐Ÿ˜‡ย ๐ŸŽถย ๐ŸŽต

8. What is your all-time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?

For dinner food, green bean casserole, ham and stuffing, for dessert, ded velvet cake, gingerbread, pumpkin pie ๐Ÿฅงย ๐Ÿฐย ๐Ÿ˜‹

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?Giving gifts! As I mentioned, I love buying things for people, and I always just feel awkward when people get me things. ๐Ÿ˜…Unless it’s my husband, for some reason.

11. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?The observation of Jesus’s birth (my faith is very important to me), spending time with my loved ones, giving, and just the general warmth and whimsy of the holiday season. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

12. When do you start getting excited for Christmas?After Thanksgiving ๐Ÿฆƒ

13. What is the best Christmas gift youโ€™ve ever received?Although it terrified me, it was the news that I was going to be having a baby. ๐Ÿคฐ๐Ÿปย ๐Ÿคฑย ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿผย ๐Ÿผย ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆโค๏ธ

15. As a kid, did a sibling ever receive a present that you wished was for you?One Christmas all of my brothers got Nintendo DS’s and I kind of wished I’d gottenย one, too, but the same year Iย was given a ย video camera, which was awesome, and a lot of silly indie-indie films and home videos came out of it, so I was and still am extremely grateful๐ŸŽž๐Ÿ“ฝ

16. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?Honestly, right here โ„๏ธ

17. Most memorable Holiday moment?My very first Christmas with my in-laws, back when I had only been dating my husband for a matter of months. I felt extreme levels of Greg Focker awkwardness, but everyone was so genuinely excited to meet me, and I just remember being in awe of how openly loving and happy everyone was. And being overwhelmed by the volume, physical and audial, of the family. But it was magical, and I remember making it my Christmas wish that someday that I might be worthy of being a part of that family. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•

18. Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?Sort of, and not really. But this year I plan on starting! โœ…

19. What makes the holidays special for you?L o v e. โค๏ธ

20. You have been granted one Christmas wishโ€ฆwhat will it be?To get back in shape ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜‚

So, that’s about it! I would challenge people, but I don’t know anyone else on this site yet, so if you feel so inclined, copy and paste these questions for your own blog, and tell your readers I sent you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tune in next time for my second trimester story and tips and tricks! Have a very, very Merry Christmas full of fun, good health, and blessings. ๐Ÿ’—